31st July 2016
I had a good night’s sleep. D.C. reckoned she was too hot to sleep.
After getting washed and dressed, and having half a “One Square Meal” bar each for breakfast, we went down to check out of the Waterloo Hotel.
As an example of the differences between establishments: The Station Hotel gave us a bath towel each to use. The Waterloo supplied us with a bath towel and a flannel. The Bay Plaza left us each a bath towel, hand towel, and flannel.
Wellington was putting on a nice day for us as our train pulled out of the station. I’d put my slippers on and had decided that I wasn’t going to worry about taking any photos today. Instead I’d relax in my seat and listen to the on board commentary.
That was until we got to the Rangitikei catchment area. Then I decided that I’d go out onto the observation car and simply enjoy the view and the wind on my face and knotting up my hair. Of course there as a waterfall that I would have liked to have photographed, but then there are always a lot of things to photograph and it’s not always possible to do so.
It was later on that I knew I had to get my camera out.
Away in the distance I could see snow.
Of course I had to get photos of that. The longer I stayed out there, the lower and thicker the snow got. I was glad that on a trip back to my seat I’d got my hat and my “cat’s paw” gloves. These are ones that are mittens, but you can fold the thumb and fingers flaps back and turn them into fingerless gloves. I had figured that they would be good because they would keep my hands warm whilst leaving my fingers free to take photos.
National Park – This more ice than snow, and we weren’t supposed to exit the carriage while 75 people got on board, but not everyone obeyed that edit. He bought in some for us to touch.
I was glad I had them. I was able to keep all my fingers warm, except my “trigger” finger, which was quite cold by the time we’d finished the Raurimu Spiral. I hadn’t planned on staying out there, because you probably get as good a view, and the commentary, in the warm inside. It also seemed that every man and his camera decided to traverse the Raurimu Spiral in the observation car, so when I did try to take a photo I would invariably get someone else’s hair, arm, shoulder, camera in shot.
I came back inside and got warm with a hot chocolate.
We pulled into Taumarunui Station.
We stayed in Taumarunui Station.
This was where our driver and crew was supposed to swap with the next driver and crew. The drivers are only licensed for certain sections of track and our present driver was only licensed for Palmerston North to Taumarunui. He wasn’t licensed for any further.
His replacement had disappeared and couldn’t be reached.
So they had to get the driver that was licensed to Hamilton.
He was in Te Rapa…
He was going to have to drive to Taumarunui…
1.5 hours away.
So we sat in the carriage, or got out and had a look at the local Railway Museum. (We were lucky that the guy had just opened up for a bus load and didn’t have to make a special trip.) We had a look around the local i-SITE. We weren’t allowed to wander around the town in case something happened that would mean that we could leave earlier than expected.
We sat. We chatted amongst ourselves and joked at our situation. We looked at our photos. We typed up our blog entry for the day.
It was 4:45pm before we heard the horn telling us to reboard the train and 4:55pm before we finally set off. Our original arrival time at the Auckland Strand was supposed to be 6:55pm, but that’s Hamilton’s time now. Papakura’s 8:25pm. Ours is around 9:00pm. Thank heavens that isn’t going to cause us any stress and we weren’t planning on going anywhere tonight. But there are those who had planned to meet friends and relatives.
6:00pm I went and got us something to eat. I had an Indonesian Rice Salad and D.C. had a lamb and mint aioli sandwich. We both had Twinings herbal teas, which were complimentary. (D.C.’s was strawberry, raspberry, and loganberry. Mine was lemon with a twist.)
The time is 6:49pm and we’re just coming into Hamilton. The only thing we can see is the Morman temple, which is lit up like a beacon.
Everyone burst out laughing when, as we left Hamilton, David announced that we were going to have to stop again for “a quick driver change.”
2 hours 30 minutes behind schedule. One of the other passengers said he’d been talking to the driver who’d brought us to Taumarunui. He said he’s got all the qualifications under the sun, but that as he wasn’t licenced for the Taumarunui to Hamilton run he couldn’t carry on. He offered to, keeping it slow so that the train was at least still moving, but the regulations wouldn’t let him. Apparently there’re certain speeds you have to do or can’t do to round some curves safely. Because these curves were new, he didn’t know them and their signals, so he was stuck. Today was also his day off. They dragged him in for the drive to Taumarunui. He’s got another job tomorrow morning at 5.00am, which he won’t be able to do because he won’t have had the required ten hours’ rest by the time he gets back home. So they’ll have to get someone in to replace him. And we don’t know why the original driver didn’t turn up.
As I was up to date with my blog (it’s good being able to update it as we go along), and I couldn’t see outside in the dark, I did some writing of my latest story… Chapter 51.
The train arrived at Papakura at 8.25pm.
It’s now 9:48pm and we’re in bed. I’m not 100% sure what time the train actually arrived, but they were saying that it was 9:10 to 9:15pm.
We got out of the train, got our bags, and hoped to get the shuttle. This was actually a rather large bus that couldn’t take a right turn towards Beach Road. It could only turn left, go to Britomart, and then straight on to the motorway.
Because it was so late we decided not to walk it, but took a taxi. $10.19 to turn right, turn right, turn left (doing a U-turn instead because he’d overshot the mark.)
We were met by the same manager at the Station Hotel, who asked if we had had a good time, charged us $120, and gave us the key to the same room – 306.
We came in, went to the loo, cleaned our teeth, and went to bed.
I had put the light out and cuddled down to sleep, when the fridge kicked into life. So I put the light on, got up, and turned it off at the wall, so I could sleep.